Some servicemembers make the ultimate sacrifice while they are in the military, but fortunately many more earn the designation of veteran after separating from the military or retiring. Veterans Day is a time when we remember all of the men and women who have served our country and protected our freedoms, but at Direct Cremate we think it’s important to do that year round. With that in mind, we’ve created this resource to help veterans and their families plan in advance for funeral services so that the veteran is forever honored in a way they deserve.
VA Life Insurance Plans for Veterans
Life insurance is a safety net for the living. We get life insurance so we have peace of mind knowing that our loved ones aren’t left with a financial burden after our death. The VA currently has three different life insurance programs for veterans that offer various types of coverage.
VA life insurance options for veterans include:
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
Those who had Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) during active duty are eligible for VGLI and can sign up for a plan that provides $10,000 to $500,000 in coverage. The amount of coverage depends on your SGLI coverage, but the benefits can be increased by $25,000 every five years up to the age of 60 years old.
Veterans’ Affairs Life Insurance (VALife)
If you have a service-related disability you’re eligible for a VALife plan with up to $40,000 in coverage. Just keep in mind that the full coverage isn’t available until two years after applying for a life insurance policy.
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)
VMLI is a form of mortgage protection insurance that will provide a veteran’s survivors with $200,000 in coverage that’s paid directly to the bank or mortgage lender. This program is only available to veterans with serious service-related disabilities who own a home that’s been modified to fit their needs.
There’s flexibility for veterans who enter the civilian workforce or simply want to sign up for another life insurance plan. It’s possible to convert a VA life insurance plan to a commercial life insurance plan if it provides better coverage.
Will Preparation Services
Veterans that sign up for a VA life insurance plan are also entitled to receive online will preparation services. A will goes hand-in-hand with life insurance because you can designate who receives the proceeds of the policy.
Advanced Funeral Planning
Planning ahead can save the veteran and their family members a lot of stress. The VA encourages veterans to make funeral arrangements in advance so that they and their family members can be financially prepared.
One thing all veterans should do is check to see if burial, interment or columbarium space at a national cemetery is possible. Veterans can submit a pre-need eligibility application to find out if they can be buried at a specific national cemetery. However, it’s important to remember that determining you are eligible doesn’t guarantee you’ll be buried at the national cemetery of your choice because plots can’t be reserved.
Programs That Provide Information on VA Burial Benefits
Part of the advanced funeral planning for veterans is learning about VA burial benefits. While they are called burial benefits, they really cover funeral expenses in general. Cremation, burial at sea and interment are also included. VA burial benefits also cover certain memorial items such as headstones and memorial flags.
Knowing how much financial assistance you’ll receive helps the families of veterans budget for funeral services. For example, if a veteran wants to be cremated and for their cremains to be kept by a family member they’ll receive a $948 burial allowance. That’s often more than enough to cover the cost of traditional direct cremation, but it’s a little less than half the cost of direct water cremation.
If you aren’t sure what VA burial benefits are available, the VA provides information online and over the phone. They can also provide assistance if you need to apply for benefits.
There may be other benefits that help pay for cremation services beyond the VA burial benefits. Give Direct Cremate a call or text to talk with a knowledgeable representative about funeral service benefits that may be used for direct cremation services.